Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Sandpaper Man

Eleanor Wachs, Crime-victim Stories: New York City's Urban Folklore (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1988), p. 36.

[This account comes from a female social worker from Brooklyn, who insisted that it was true. -- bc]

She's a very articulate woman -- when she went blind four years ago, she really got herself together. She's very independent -- she's totally blind, but she is mobile. She gets around, does what she has to do. She went through a bad depression, except nothing stops her. She took mobility training, and she's independently strong -- very wonderful woman. And she's really a kind, generous woman. She went home from the agency, and then the doorbell rang. And she has a chain on her door, and she just opened the door. Someone said it was a messenger or something, and she didn't really question it. She opened the door -- this guy grabbed her entire arm and took sandpaper and just started scratching her entire arm up and down. And he told her to break the chain or he's gonna ruin her arm with this sandpaper. And she just tried as much as she could not to present herself as a victim, you know, the idea that you can't be hurt, or that you can't be treated as a victim if you don't present yourself like a victim. So what she did was she grabbed the guy's arm and said, "You have no right treating me like this! Who the hell do you think you are?" She grabbed his hand, and with all her energy she took his fingers with all her strength and broke them all -- all his fingers broke like spaghetti. And he ran off. She called the cops. And they picked him up a few hours later because he went to an emergency room in a hospital because he had five broken fingers. She refused to be a victim.